Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs spoke to the media Tuesday ahead of Sunday's critical division matchup in Minnesota against the Vikings.
Here are 10 takeaways from those media sessions:
1. Undlin is excited to get veteran defensive end Everson Griffen into the mix this week on defense. The Lions traded with Dallas to get Griffen last week. Undlin said he's got to get Griffen into practice to see where he fits best, but Undlin did say his arrival is a blessing, especially with the news that Trey Flowers is headed to Reserve/Injured. Griffen could end up playing a bigger role than initially expected Sunday in Minnesota.
2. Bevell challenged tight end T.J. Hockenson a couple weeks ago to get better separation from defenders. Bevell likes the way Hockenson rose to that challenge, and thought his second-year tight end did a really good job this past week with his route running and separation. Hockenson finished with seven catches for 65 yards last week against the Colts. With wide receiver Kenny Golladay likely to miss Sunday's game, Bevell could look for Hockenson to carry more of the load in the passing game.
3. Miles Killebrew bought into Coombs' new schemes on special teams Day 1, and Coombs said Killebrew's been a foundational player for the way he works and the way he's instilled the kind of culture Coombs wants. Killebrew recently became a father, and Coombs was happy to see Killebrew have the game he did last week – one special teams tackle and the team's first blocked punt since 2007.
4. The one thing Undlin said he's preaching to his defenders this week is that all 11 players on the field have to be ready to make a play against talented Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who is coming off a four-touchdown, 200-plus-scrimmage-yard game against the Packers last week. Cook puts his foot in the ground and gets uphill. Undlin said they'll have their hands full trying to contain him this week, but he thinks his guys are up for the challenge.
5. Marvin Hall did a nice job Sunday stepping in for Golladay. Hall finished with four receptions for 113 yards. Bevell said Hall brings a different element of speed to the offense. An increased role could potentially change the way the backend of a defense has to play the Lions because of that deep-threat potential. It's something to watch as Hall's expected to be one of the players to help fill the void with Golladay out, along with rookie Quintez Cephus.
6. Matt Prater missed a 48-yard field goal last week, marking his fifth miss on the year, tied for the most in any season as a Lion. Coombs said it was the first miss this year where Prater didn't strike the ball well. He's still not concerned about his veteran kicker, but said they will go back to some fundamental and technique basics this week to try and re-sharpen them.
7. There are some new names on the Viking's defense, but they still play a lot of the aggressive Mike Zimmer schemes Detroit's gotten used to seeing over the years. Bevell pointed to Vikings safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris as being the strength of the Vikings' defense.
8. Another name to look out for in terms of playing a bigger role with Flowers on IR is Da'Shawn Hand. He's got the versatility to play inside and outside.
9. What was the biggest issue in the run game last week? Detroit rushed 13 times for 29 yards against the Colts. Without throwing any individuals under the bus, Bevell said the run game can only execute when 11 guys do their job, and there wasn't enough of that last week. I expect that will be a major point of emphasis this week in the offensive meeting room.
10. The Lions' defense was caught twice Sunday with only 10 men on the field. Undlin said that's inexcusable and starts and ends with him. He took full responsibility for those plays, and said it can't happen again.